Friday, October 24, 2008

Homemade Sauerkraut

Got cabbage?


25 lbs cabbage
3/4 cup canning or pickling salt


Work with about five pounds of cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water and drain. Cut heads in quarters and remove cores. Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter. Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container (see page 1), and add three tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands. Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage. Repeat shredding, salting and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure it is deep enough so that its rim is at least four or five inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water). Add plate and weights; cover container with a clean bath towel. Store at 70 to 75 degrees F while fermenting. At temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees F, kraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60 to 65 degrees F, fermentation may take five to six weeks. At temperatures lower than 60 degrees F, kraut may not ferment. Above 75 degrees F, kraut may become soft.

If you weigh the cabbage down with a brine- or water-filled filled double-bag, do not disturb the crock until normal fermentation is completed (when bubbling ceases). Bags with brine are safer than water in case the bags break. If you use jars as weight, you will have to check the kraut two to three times each week and remove scum if it forms. Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months or it may be canned as follows:

Hot pack--Bring kraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill jars rather firmly with kraut and juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
Hot Pack processing times: Pints 10 minutes, Quarts 15 minutes

Now that I have posted this and the corned beef recipe, how about a nice Reuben sandwich?

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